On Tuesday, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) sent a letter to Bunker Hill Community College informing them of their unconstitutional policies and potential legal litigation if they fail to comply.
Earlier this year, Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) members were handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution in an open area outdoors when they were approached by campus police to stop. This was apparently because the club was not officially recognized and because the college requires approval of literature distributed, according to the ADF press release.
Imagine that! The U.S. Constitution, the very document that guarantees unalienable rights, needs to be approved by campus officials in order to be distributed. The joint letter from ADF and FIRE explains that BHCC’s policies unconstitutionally “restrict the content of literature distributed, prohibit anonymous speech, prohibit spontaneous speech, and grant unbridled discretion to administrators who may approve or disapprove of the speech based on its content or viewpoint.” These policies violate the First Amendment and restrict free expression.
The Bunker Hill Community College Student Handbook 2016-2017 states, “Items distributed by clubs must relate directly to on-campus information and events sponsored by the club or College.” Unrecognized student groups will be “will be subject to disciplinary action” if they choose to meet and/or engage in club activities. The YAL chapter at BHCC applied for recognition over two months ago, pending administrative approval, according to the ADF press release. Regardless of club approval, students have a right to free speech, universally defended by the Bill of Rights.
The suppression of free expression exists across the country, from the Los Angeles Community College District in California to Kellogg Community College in Michigan to George Mason University in Virginia, and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. “A majority of America’s higher education institutions maintain some type of restrictive speech code that infringes on the First Amendment rights of its students,” said Cliff Maloney Jr. President of YAL in their press release.
The problem with such anti-expression policies is that they prevent college campuses from being the hotbed of diverse thought and ideas that they have historically been, and they stifle creativity among students who are searching for answers outside the box. Our Founding Fathers realized how paramount this freedom of expression is, which is the reason they included its defense as the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights. Were it not for the devoted efforts of YAL, FIRE, and ADF, among many others, this type of speech-suppressing incident at Bunker Hill Community College would be much more commonplace in the U.S. than it already is.
Andrew Di Giovanna is a State Chair for Young Americans for Liberty in California and is committed to fighting for the cause of liberty.
Source: Red Alert Politics
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